“It’s not really an anniversary!” was the first response to the idea at our SS15 kick off meeting. But how can you not celebrate a shoe that is 65 years old?

We knew we needed to pull together something really special to do this project justice; the main emphasis would be to celebrate our icon, the Clarks Desert Boot, in a very British way.

 

A shoe with far flung colonial origins and a romantic yet humble history. A shoe crafted from Charles F. Stead suede in Leeds, England, for over half a century. A shoe originally manufactured in England in 1950… It was obvious what we needed to do to celebrate its 65th year.

 

But to make this project really special I wanted to do more, so I contacted Christian Hilton (Proper Mag Contributor and Clarks Superfan) to help us find some up and coming individuals to work with us to celebrate this magical birthday. Christian brought a unique perspective; selecting British artisans with a strong affinity for the brand.

 

The project started moving quickly and the team worked organically, collaboratively and creatively. We found entrepreneurial ways around many manufacturing constraints, corporate sign offs and stringent bureaucracy (akin to when Cyrus and James began it all!) When Chris Law (pictured centre joined us to head up Clarks Originals design, things finally came together.

It’s been a long time coming, 65 years in fact since Nathan launched the Clarks Desert Boot, and it just keeps on getting stronger. And as for our little project, and the result… It’s something we couldn’t be happier with, hope you enjoy it.

Dan Newton / Group Head / Clarks Originals

Who are Mamnick?

Thomas Barnett (Mamnick)

I’m Thomas Barnett, brand-founder and designer at Mamnick and we manufacture limited numbers of fine products, “one thing at a time, as beautiful as possible”. From shirts and accessories (made from Sheffield steel) to shoes, jackets and bike frames. The majority of our inventory is made here in the UK but every year we make a small number of items over in Japan under our ‘Black Label’ collection. We opened a flagship store in Tokyo, December 2014.

What drives you?

I’ve always had a keen passion for clothing and fabrics and having turned my back on a music and art career, I focused my energy into clothing and product. Things started to take-shape quite quickly in 2013 when the brand was founded. I’m driven by making small numbers of products (mainly here in the UK, usually local to me in Sheffield), that sell direct to our audience. Products which tell an honest story about their makers and origin that don’t follow the usual fashion AW/SS regime. Keeping the price at an honest level is also something I look to achieve wherever possible.

What do you share with Clarks Originals?

A passion to manufacture fine product which tells an honest story.

PETER O’TOOLE, FREELANCE ILLUSTRATOR

 

Peter O'Toole (Peter O'Toole Art)

Why Illustration?

It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since being a child. I have my dream job!

How important is the Clarks Desert Boot to you?

Having been a fan of Clarks since youth and initially being attracted by the Clarks Desert Boots and Wallabees I like to feel I understand the depth of their heritage. I found and loved the vintage illustrated ads for the Clarks Desert Boot back in the day, the one with the field marshal ‘Monty’ Montgomery-look-a-like holding a shoe. I love the fact it was designed in the

desert, ‘on the job’ and the fact that for some crazy reason the stars have aligned and I have been chosen to work on this exciting project.

What makes you most proud of the up-coming works?

I think the term ‘collaboration’ is thrown around way too much in todays market. 99% do not constitute what I would personally regard as a collaboration. But this project has been 100% a true collaboration from the start. Between Clarks, Iain, Thom, John and myself. We all bring something to the project that others could not and we are all trying to make this stand the test of time for another 65 years. It all comes from the heart.

Who are Potts?

I’m John Conway, a Business Development Director at Potts Print (UK), a Carbon Balanced Print company.

Why you guys?

Would you believe that my first contact with the Clarks Originals brand was through Twitter? I had previously sent a copy of a book and presentation box that I had conceived and co-produced with the designer Nigel Cabourn. With this in mind, we discussed the possibility of me being involved in the project, and to come up with a couple of ideas.

Have you ever worn a pair of Clarks Desert Boots?

I had my first Desert Boots aged 14 when the (second) Mod revival came around up here in the North East, around 1984. I completely ruined them, as you do, by over wear, running through wet streets and muddy fields and not learning that suede is such a delicate fabric! So they became synonymous to me as the footwear of choice for the young mod. I bought a new pair in my 30s and another pair just last year, taking great care of both!

What makes you most proud of the project?

That we answered all of the requests of the original brief, with few compromises on the way! But I think that when the project goes public and we see the fi nal version being publicised, that will give me great pride that our company played an important part in this.

What is TRiCKETT?

Iain Trickett (TRiCKETT)

We’re a brand with an unhealthy obsession with sport, clothes and food. Not necessarily in that order, but most days it is. We make everything in the USA, Canada and the UK as we believe this is where the best sportswear is made. We live under the mantra of ‘People not product’ and therefore try to make our brand as interactive and fun as we can… Even if that means answering tweets during an anniversary meal (which I have done). We are a tiny team of enthusiasts that will

spend as much time talking about a seam on a jacket as we do about Andrea Pirlo’s beard. We are based in Lancashire, which keeps our feet firmly grounded in reality and stops us from thinking we are a fashion brand. Simply put we just make stuff we like.

And you and Clarks Originals…

Clarks is an iconic British brand and for any product to be relevant 65 years later from its inception and still look pretty much the same is incredible. I have been into Clarks for ages through the Wu-Tang Clan, reggae and dancehall (like everyone from Accrington… maybe not?) artists all telling me that Clarks were ace, but the Desert Boot at first glance seemed different. I realized just how beautiful their simplicity was and how they were one of the most versatile shoes available. You can take them camping as well as to a nice meal.

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